The Relationships Between States' DUI Penalties and HIV-positive Adults' Drinking Behaviors

Published In: AIDS and Behavior, v. 14, no. 4, Aug. 2008, p. 870-877

by Stephanie L. Taylor, Rebecca L. Collins, Marc N. Elliott, Jeanne S. Ringel, David E. Kanouse, Robin L. Beckman

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Evidence that persons with HIV who reside in states with stricter DUI penalties drink less might suggest that changes to alcohol policy might improve the health of persons with HIV and reduce the rate of new infections. Using multi-level modeling and data from the national HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study, we examined how states' DUI-related fines, jail time, license suspension, and court-referred treatment/education policies were related to past month drinking/not (n = 2,255) and among drinkers (n = 1,117), drinking frequency, drinks per occasion, and engagement in frequent heavy drinking. Fine strictness was negatively related to all outcomes. Residents in states with court-referred treatment/education had more current drinkers. Results suggested that punitive DUI policies might curb a variety of drinking behaviors whereas harm reduction DUI policies (e.g., court treatment programs) might have been established in response to higher drinking rates.

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